Maybe it’s started. You know those short periods of time that pass but somehow you don’t notice them and can’t remember them afterwards. You’re driving from Belfast to Omagh and suddenly you realize you’re at the Ballygawley Roundabout and for the life of you you can’t remember the last five miles.
Maybe that’s what happened this morning, only in sound. I was tuned into BBC Radio Ulster between half-past seven and half-past eight. Yes I heard Eddie O’Gorman on the Business News, yes I heard Thought for the Day (simply superb, and no, eagles tearing at my liver wouldn’t get me to say who gave it) I heard the weather forecast, I heard the headlines. I listened for a full hour to the biggest news and current affairs programme available here in the north, during its prime-time listening period, and do you know, I didn’t hear one serious word about the Assembly and local council elections that will be happening TWO DAYS FROM NOW. A jokey item about a retiring 82-year-old councillor from North Antrim but that was it.
Maybe it was the Ballygawley Roundabout syndrome in action. Or maybe the edge has gone off unionist vs republican politics here and people genuinely aren’t interested.
Or maybe it’s that we tend to take our lead from the media. If they’re excited about Osama bin Laden’s death, so are we. If they’re upset about an earthquake on the opposite side of the world, we’re distraught. And if they decide that the election of those who govern us is so boring as to be scarcely worth mentioning, we tend to imitate their yawn.
Oh sorry – I’ve just remembered. Immediately before half-past eight, Conor Bradford did mention the election. He reminded us there’d be a televised leaders’ debate on BBC tonight. Scheduled to catch a massive audience. Starting at 10.40 pm.
You’ll be WHERE by that time?